The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-12-2003, 11:25 PM
RickJay RickJay is online now
Charter Jays Fan
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Posts: 31,624
Way Way TMI Question Warning: Why Not Human Cheese?

Honest to God, this came up tonight in a conversation between Mrs. RickJay and I.

Has anyone ever attempted the manufacture of cheese out of human milk? Logically, it seems to me it's just a matter of, uh, milking someone, or multiple someones, and then making cheese out of it. I did a Google but could only find links to people asking the same question.

If you were to attempt to make cheese out of human milk, would it be easier or harder? How does human milk differ from cow and goat milk, chemically and nutriotionally speaking? Assuming you had sufficient volumes, would it be superior or inferior cheese-making material?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 12-12-2003, 11:33 PM
porcupine porcupine is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
I don't know the answer, but wanted to share the fact the UncleBeer and I have had a similar conversation. Scary, eh? There used to be a joke site called humancheese.com that said they sold celebrity cheese, but it's gone now.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-13-2003, 12:01 AM
astro astro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
See "The Basics of Making Cheese"

Above are listed the fat, protein, milk sugar and minerals percentages for various lactating mammals (not humans). Human's mother's milk (see quote below) is closest to cow's milk in overall fat content, but the suprise (to me) is how variable the output is. Some mother's can feed their children table cream right from their nipple.


Fat and cholesterol are very important components in human milk. In fact, the milk from a healthy mother has about 50 to 60 percent of its energy (kilocalories) as fat.1 The cholesterol in human milk supplies an infant with close to six times the amount most adults consume from their food.

Quote:
Some women produce milk that has a fat level similar to the Guernsey or Jersey cow (high fat) and some produce milk that more closely resembles the Holstein cow (lower fat). The higher fat is more desirable, of course, for the developing infant. The higher fat milk will have more of the fat molecules that are needed for their many functional properties, and will also supply enough energy so that all of the protein can be used by the infant for development. Fat is spoken of as “protein sparing.” Without adequate fat, the protein in human milk cannot be used.

Studies of milk from 224 Danish mothers showed that they produced milk with a very wide range of fat content.1 The average amount of fat was 39 grams per liter of milk and the range was from 18 grams to 89 grams per liter of milk. That is the equivalent of an average milk fat content of 3.9 percent with the range between 1.8 percent and 8.9 percent. This would mean that some babies would be getting the equivalent of 2 percent milk and some would be getting the equivalent of table cream, with the average infant getting the equivalent of whole Guernsey or Jersey milk. Studies have shown that the average levels of fat in the milk of Canadian women to be 3.2 percent, and the fat levels in two different areas in China to be either the same at 3.2 percent or somewhat higher at 3.8 percent.2
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-13-2003, 12:18 AM
Rabid_Squirrel Rabid_Squirrel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Well, if you have four lactating women possibly.

Err... this woman claimed to have made human breast yoghurt. Ahem.

Oh, and I couldn't find humancheese.com, but I found HumanButter.
Surprisingly little porn. Niche pornograph cottage-industry, anyone?
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-13-2003, 05:25 AM
dakravel dakravel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
I would think the main reason that we don't make human cheese is that we would then need people who were constantly producing human milk to sustain the human cheese factory. With cows it wasn't so hard since you're trying to get them to produce offspring as fast as possible anyway, but with humans it'd be a bit more difficult. And think about it, who'd really want the job of having their breasts fondled for milk?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-13-2003, 05:51 AM
flodnak flodnak is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: outside Oslo, Norway
Posts: 4,762
We had a thread about this recently, and someone who had some experience making cheese pointed out that human milk doesn't have much protein and what it does have is mostly the wrong kind for cheesemaking. So even if you could sort out the supply problems, you won't have an easy job of getting the milk to turn into cheese.
__________________
An American flodnak in Oslo.
Do not open cover; no user serviceable parts inside.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-13-2003, 09:15 AM
Master Wang-Ka Master Wang-Ka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
In a world where women routinely have sex with strangers for money, have the money taken away from them by pimps, and get beat up from time to time, I have no trouble imagining a place with a long row of seats and a great many bored topless women chatting, gossiping and reading "People" magazine while milking nozzles are hooked up to their tits by the hour...

Although the necessity of paying them a living wage would doubtless make the cheese rather expensive.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-13-2003, 12:59 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
Mod Rocker
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: N E Ohio
Posts: 36,286
Goat milk is rather high in both the cream content and protein needed for cheese and it takes several gallons of milk to produce less than a pound of cheese.

Extrapolate that as you will.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-13-2003, 01:38 PM
yabob yabob is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 7,216
Quote:
With cows it wasn't so hard since you're trying to get them to produce offspring as fast as possible anyway, but with humans it'd be a bit more difficult.
Actually, in dairy production, they produce offspring at a rate which will keep them lactating. You don't necessarily want calves at the rate they get produced at, and one thing animal breeders and researchers keep trying for is cows that will lactate for a longer time after dropping a calf. Also, we've selectively bred dairy cattle to give far more milk than would be required naturally (the average US dairy cow produces over 8 tons/yr) - a solution which cannot be applied to humans without some thorny ethical issues, although envisioning the results may, errrm, titillate some ...
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:46 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.